Reflections of a Zen Tech Warrior

Alicia weilds a wind-up flashlight.
Alicia wields a wind-up flashlight.

I’ve been interning at the IPG Emerging Media Lab for the past few months.  Little did I know that in addition to my killer subject line (Your Tech Savvy Intern), my resume pegged me as a Zen Tech Warrior.  (This was before I had read the Lab’s 2009 Digital Trends and learned what a “Zen Tech Warrior” was).

Here are 4 things that this Zen Tech Warrior learned at the Lab:
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Using social media to build your personal brand

publicme“We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” – Tom Peters

Although Tom Peters coined “The Brand Called You” in an article in FastCompany magazine back in 1997, with the explosion of social media, personal branding is more important than ever.

Personal branding, a summation of how individuals are representing themselves online, is a phenomenon where people and their careers are perceived as brands. Your online presence including news, blog posts and comments, profiles on social networks, images, videos and personal web sites – essentially content of any kind that connects to you, makes up your personal brand. For individuals and executives, it’s important to gain control of this image you are presenting to the world. New tools for personal branding can help you create and manage a unique and powerful personal brand online. Continue reading “Using social media to build your personal brand”

Inbound marketing is “in”

raqueloutboundEarlier this week, I attended and presented at the Inbound Marketing Summit organized by Chris Brogan. It was truly an engaging and informative conference.  The consensus was that social media marketing is still big on tactics and short on strategy.  Marketing has changed and every company needs to have a long term plan for participation- or be left behind.

Here are some highlights from the summit:
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Thanks for the branded virtual gift!

Virtual gift giving on Facebook The virtual goods economy is roaring, growing in adoption and importance, and making the branded product or gift a powerful social media marketing tool. Members of virtual worlds are purchasing virtual goods for self-expression, social status, or to gain advantage in game play.  Companies, including Kohl’s and Sears, have witnessed success by creating virtual boutiques and selling branded virtual goods and apparel on sites such as, and

With widespread adoption of social networks such as Facebook, virtual goods have found a new purpose and home. In these social networks, sending a gift to a friend has become a form of communication. Virtual gifts are self-selected – a user chooses to give a virtual gift because it appeals to their own or their friends’ interests, making them highly targeted.  This is where brands come in. Continue reading “Thanks for the branded virtual gift!”

Can privacy exist in social media?

Privacy (rpongsaj via Flickr)The Facebook privacy flap of the last week, shows that today’s social media user wants to be able to share and stay connected, but on their terms.

We’ve embraced social media platforms such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter that were designed to help us share our thoughts, our lives and experiences.  We’ve willingly handed out our personal information and content streamed our lives. But we want to own the personalities that we’ve voluntarily shared in the digital realm.

Information posted on the social Web is meant to be shared, so perhaps Facebook believed that ownership was not a concern to its users. Well, they were very wrong!  Continue reading “Can privacy exist in social media?”

OMMA Social Highlights

ipopeRecently, I attended OMMA Social in San Francisco. A number of good speakers reflected on the power and influence of social media. New chatter about new trends, however, was conspicuously at a minimum. The consensus was that social media has transformed the way we do business: Brands no longer call the shots and consumers’ voices are being heard.

There was agreement amongst all that listening to social media is key, and ignoring the conversation is not an option. But what I took away is that social media remains a challenging space for marketers. Here are the top six tips, direct from OMMA, for marketers: Continue reading “OMMA Social Highlights”

New president, new media

CNN Live with Facebook
CNN Live with Facebook

President Barack Obama was sworn into office today, with the backdrop of his historic election and the current economic and international crises. Meanwhile, we at the Lab negotiated new and traditional media channels to take it all in. Here’s what we had to say about inauguration 2.0:

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Inauguration 2.0

(Facebook/CNN)The presidential inauguration is upon us, and even if you are not one of the over four million people planning to travel to the nation’s capital, you can still actively participate in the festivities. During the election season, candidates and especially the Obama campaign confirmed the power of emerging media (notably social media) to engage citizens (see our report, Emerging Media, Barack Obama, and the Future of Political Campaigns).  Voters enthusiastically shared their experiences on election day and we can expect much more of the same on Tuesday.  In true Obama style, new media platforms are being used to promote the inauguration events in unprecedented ways. We can all look forward to an interesting documentation of the events that you won’t get with official news coverage.

So if you didn’t receive a highly coveted invite, skip the crowds and join the festivities from your home town.  Here’s how: Continue reading “Inauguration 2.0”

What’s hot with kids and social networking

CES (MyYearbook)I attended a great panel at CES that was part of the Kids at Play program called Social Networking: It’s in their DNA. The moderator Parry Aftab was careful to point out that the people on this panel were doing things right – and I have to agree with her. Over two and a half million children aged between 8 and 17 have created profiles on social networking sites. But poor security means that a lot of the time, profile pages pages are wide open for anyone to look at.  Todays kids are growing up in a digital world. But how do you keep these kids safe? Here’s a quick look at what’s new, next and cool in the in the kids and teen social networking space. Continue reading “What’s hot with kids and social networking”

CES 2009: Best in health and wellness products

(IPG Media Lab at CES)The Innovations Design and Engineering Awards program acknowledges the most innovative consumer technologies in 34 product categories from audio accessories to eco-design. Sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), products are judged by a panel of designers, engineers and trade. Honorees are announced in the fall and are featured at the show in a special “Best of” display. Continue reading “CES 2009: Best in health and wellness products”